Newport County v Stevenage

Saturday 13th October 2018   k.o 3:00pm

Sky Bet Football League Two


Report from Mark Vickery at Rodney Parade


Newport County 2 (Dolan 1, Semenyo 90 +8)

Stevenage 1 (Wildin 45 +1)


Attendance: 3,126



Newport County        WLWWLWWWDD   

Stevenage                  LWLWDWWLWL               



Persistence get the most deserving win



Matt Dolan back to bolster the County midfield. Stevenage paid compliment resting 9 players in midweek cup match so key County match their work ethic and pick holes when they get forward

Humid, cloudy and strong wind. Pitch in decent condition after rain but slippery parts.

Pressed the right buttons today, nullifying Stevenage threat and relentless late on.

Nugent missed header mid-way through second half was not pivotal but key moment for Boro

County made just the one change with Matt Dolan returning after injury in place of Antoine Semenyo who unfortunate to be sacrificed to the bench. County started forcefully with some good decisive play deep inside the Stevenage half and plenty of energy.  Inside the first minute, County took the lead, despite a move breaking down across the face of the area Dolan was quick to read the loose ball blasting an exquisite effort into the top right corner from 20 yards. County kept moving the ball efficiently especially down the left flank with Butler putting Boro right back Wildin back in the corner and a couple of crosses flashed dangerously through the area. Stevenage were keen to use Alex Revell as an outlet and aerial target but County marshalled the threat well. On 12 minutes, Stevenage created a snappy move down the left side with Seddon jinking his way past Forbes who mistimed his challenge tracking back to defend. The referee issued a somewhat harsh yellow card for his first offence but the free kick into the area came to nothing with the wind making it unpredictable to read. Stevenage were largely direct in their tact with ex-Barnet midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce giving them an outlet left side and Kennedy making runs close to Revell. County continued to probe away with some neat approach play but the crosses were cut back just eluding Matt and Amond and Bakinson lurking back post. On 17 minutes, the referee showed the same punishment booking Timlin when he tangled with Matt as County threatened the break from midfield. County retained the ball well in the middle with Dolan pulling the strings and they worked hard to deny the threat Stevenage offered final third. On 22 minutes, Stevenage were given a warning when the flooded players forward to support a move right side but Demetriou did well winning his header with Revell. Dolan picked up the loose ball and threaded a good pass left side for Butler and his cross from the left side of the area was diverted inside the six yard box by Cuthbert. Butler continued to cause problems for Stevenage with his runs and right back Wildin was often a yard off the pace. On 26 minutes, Butler drove forward carrying run to the byline and his cross went deep finding the late run of Willmott but the ball sat up and he was unable to get a first time shot and the move lost momentum. Stevenage offered more penetration when they were prepared to pass the ball and a better move on 30 minutes saw Newton combine well near the edge of area with Revell who set up Kennedy but his first time effort from 25 yards was well over the bar. County continued to enjoy the better of possession breaking up play well and recycling it into the right areas and Stevenage were forced into some hurried clearances. On 38 minutes, Butler was again pivotal in a decent cutting move left side and his cross was cleared by Cuthbert who made a important intervention ahead of Amond. Stevenage up their efforts as half time approached trying to use the wind assisting them to their advantage and some increasingly direct play forced County deeper. Campbell-Ryce maintained some of the better moves left side often turning back onto his less favoured right foot to pick out crosses into the area which County were vigilant defending the danger. Stevenage kept plugging away and got a foothold back in the game in first half injury with County momentarily switching off. Campbell-Ryce was again at the heart of the box chipping this time a deeper cross and right back ghosted in unmarked heading into the left corner.

County came out determined to put wrongs right with some neat exchanges early in the second half. On 48 minutes, County were quick in snapping possession of a loose ball when Butler drove forward from deep on the left side and his low crisp effort from 25 yards was read well by Boro keeper Dieng saving low down in the right corner. On 52 minutes, Demetriou went on a similar run breaking off a challenge by Timlin and his low effort was precise from 25 yards but lacked power to worry the keeper. County kept their game ticking over well with Stevenage struggling to find cohesion and went close again on 55 minutes when Butler delivered a cross toward the front post but Matt headed wide of the left post from 8 yards under pressure from Cuthbert. Stevenage were seeing little of the ball and focussed their efforts on stifling County and gambling with some forceful physical play. On 57 minutes, Bakinson was substituted after being on the end of couple of untidy challenges and replaced by Semenyo with County switching to 433. On 58 minutes, Butler was again showing his eye for goal when he snapped up possession well in the middle and his opportunist volley from 30 yards dipped just over the bar. On 60 minutes, Semenyo showed his capability when he contested a lofted pass on the flank and Wildin was caught out of position. A quick through pass found Matt who drilled a shot just wide of the left post from left side of the box. On 65 minutes, County created a clever move on the right side showing some quick feet and Willmott did well to pick out Semenyo inside the box but his shot on the turn was again held well by Dieng. Stevenage picked up their game again looking to use Campbell-Ryce left side as an outlet and they were awarded a free kick on 68 minutes when Bennett mistimed a tackle tracking back. From the resultant free kick Kennedy put in a decent delivery and Nugent met well under pressure from Demetriou glancing a header from 8 yards wide of the right post. County were unphased and upped their game in the final 20 minutes. On 70 minutes, Stevenage had a let off when Willmott was quick to pounce on a loose pass near the edge of the area and went down in a low tackle with Nugent. The ball deflected dangerously towards the back post and Semenyo dragged his low shot from an acute angle inches wide of the left post. Willmott received several minutes treatment before being taken off on a stretcher and he was replaced by Pipe who went right back with Forbes pushing on right midfield. County kept plugging away with Demetriou was again close on 72 minutes when his low shot from 25 yards was parried by Dieng but County had nobody alert the loose ball which was hooked to safety. On 82 minutes, Stevenage made their first change with Timlin replaced by Ferry. Stevenage opted for direct play late on the match with County encamped in the Stevenage half. Newton was booked on 85 minutes for a very late challenge on Demetriou who was in no mood to be second to the ball. Stevenage introduced Sonupe moments later to replace the hard working Campbell-Ryce but the move had little effect with County forcing Stevenage to defend very deeply as the game entered 9 minutes of injury time. A final Stevenage change saw Reid replace Kennedy up front but they could have done with an extra defender in the final stages. In the fourth minute of injury time, County had a free kick on the left side in a dangerous position and caught Stevenage napping somewhat when a short ball across the area was played to Dolan. He his a sweet a low effort from 20 yards was edging towards the right corner but the keeper saved holding it well under pressure from Amond. County got their reward in the 8th minute of injury time when their persistence in using their left side paid off. A direct ball was contested well by Matt with Stevenage struggling to clear their lines and Semenyo rifled a superb low effort from 20 yards into the left corner. County were untroubled with the match 11 minutes over by the end and got a great response for their determination at the end.

Day (7) –  not overworked by any means but kept concentration we to collect ball in behind and kicked pretty solidly under pressure and gave distance into the wind.

Forbes (7) –  busy game and adapted well after the booking making some well timed challenges. Did well to link play sharp with ball at feet but crosses lacked bite on times.

Butler (8) – enterprising first half dragged Stevenage about and put in a fair quota of decent crosses and shots. Marked tight after half time but initiated several good moves.

Demetriou (8) –  determined and vigilant dealing well with aerial threat from Revell and quick to the ball clearing effectively. Broke forward and put in a couple of decent shots.

Franks (7) – alert throughout and despite being put under some pressure strong in the air, tackled well and got his clearances safe but a little rash with some passes.

Bennett (8) – composed on the ball and linked well to thread passes and initiate moves. Did well contesting in the air and on the floor and he read the game very well

Bakinson (7) – had the licence to push on a little more today and came close several times with late runs but the ball sat up. Tackled well and shifted it sensibly before knock.

Dolan (8) –  assumed control in midfield and took responsibility to receive and shift the ball setting up several excellent moves. Took his chance very well and may have had more.

Willmott (6) –  honest hard working game but struggled to get outside the left back on times. Restricted on crosses but kept linking up until his injury.

Matt (6) – run were tracked inside six yard box and was more effective today when he dropped off to get a yard of space. Had a couple shots in and around area but lack precision.

Amond (6) –  quiet game but worked hard off the ball and fluster defenders into some hurried clearances. Very few chances today and looked most capable back post.



Strengths –
central defenders were solid defending the six yard box and prowess in the air and when they passed low they did show their capability.

Weaknesses –  gambled pushing players on and were always in trouble when moves broke down. Right back was vulnerable when exposed and they were over reliant on direct play

Opportunities –  they had spells switching between passing and direct play with hopeful crosses into the box and never really changed tact
Threats –
 Revell aerial prowess and link play. Campbell-Ryce outlet and crosses left side. Newton and Kennedy runs and industry in behind.

K Stroud (7) – a bit sensitive with some of the booking but generally consistent allowing game to flow but missed some of the climbing and crude fouls.

Mickey Demetriou – responded well today, was in no mood to let his guard down, won his headers and cleared effectively leading side and defensive resilience.


County took a vice grip for much of the first half and it was only a rare lapse that let Stevenage back in the game. County had much better control of the midfield today and were good in possession but they also did a lot of important work to stifle some slick Stevenage moves and every time they did break down, County put them in trouble immediately with some sweeping moves. With better quality on crosses, County should and could have been out of sight by half time. Stevenage did defend the six yard box well denying Matt and Amond clearcut chances but sometimes they acted as foil as when County cut the ball back deeper they had men in good positions to threaten but they couldn’t quite manufacture the finish. The second half was slightly different with Stevenage sitting back and blocking the flanks and County were unable to force the set pieces and corners they wanted. The goal deep into injury time was just reward for never giving up and Semenyo again showed his versatility coming on to blast home after missing another good chance. Next up is Crawley who will have to make do with centre back N’Gala who was red carded today. Crawley have stuttered somewhat since manager Harry Kewell left for Notts County but they do like to offer width with ex-Barnet winger Gambin and ex-Wimbledon Francombe pinpointing crosses into Palmer.